Clark Atlanta University’s Executive Leadership Institute Continues To Shape The Future Of HBCUs

Applications Now Open for the 2024 Cohort

ATLANTA, Oct. 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (HBCU ELI) at Clark Atlanta University is now accepting applications for its 2024 Community Fellows, with an October 19, 2023 deadline. Aspiring leaders with a passion for shaping the future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are encouraged to apply online today.

HBCU ELI stands as a pioneering initiative, committed to nurturing and empowering the next generation of legacy leaders for over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Thanks to generous support from a network of philanthropic partners, the program seeks to identify and develop the most qualified candidates to fill vital HBCU presidencies and other executive leadership positions. Since 2021, more than 85 fellows have participated in the program.

ELI’s competency-based curriculum immerses fellows in the art and science of effectively leading an HBCU. From operations and budgeting to academics, fundraising, development, board governance, and the pursuit of racial and social justice, ELI covers every aspect of HBCU leadership. The 2024 community of fellows will be comprised of deans, vice presidents, and provosts, as well as higher education/corporate executives.

Now its third year– and led by an esteemed group of HBCU veterans – ELI is committed to preparing cohort members to become visionary leaders who are equipped to address the ever-changing landscape of higher education. Click here to review the program timeline as well as fellows’ expectations and commitments.

“Today, more than ever, we recognize the critical need for nurturing the next generation of HBCU leaders with a competency-based curriculum that is also culturally sensitive,” said Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, Executive Director of the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute. “ELI is not your typical leadership program; every module is curated to develop an ecosystem of leaders who deeply understand the unique cultural and historical significance of HBCUs. We welcome diverse professionals to apply and look forward to embarking on a transformative journey together.”

Previous ELI fellows have shared their invaluable experiences:

  • “You will quickly find yourself in a professionally supportive space to explore and advance your leadership attributes such as crisis management, institutional advancement, and board governance, while also acquiring a keen understanding of how these multifaceted aspects of leadership can be successfully navigated as an HBCU President.” – Dr. Ann Lampkin-Williams, University of Michigan, Dearborn.
  • “The ELI program has challenged me to become a better leader and helped me better understand board governance and relationship issues.” – Dr. Rochelle Ford, Elon University.

Leading figures in HBCU education emphasize the importance of programs like HBCU ELI:

  • “America needs the human and financial capital that HBCUs have produced for nearly two centuries. Our HBCUs need talented, visionary institutional leaders who have integrity, competence, and imagination to sustain that amazing track record of excellence.” — Dr. Robert M. Franklin, President Emeritus of Morehouse College and HBCU ELI Seminar Speaker.
  • “The ELI is expanding and accelerating that pipeline by offering a high-impact leadership formation experience—rich in theory and practice—that is provided by an impressive ensemble of experienced mentors. I much enjoyed participating in the development of these new leaders and engaging with them in a stimulating exchange.” — President Reynold Verret, Xavier University.

HBCU ELI launched in April 2021, boasting a roster with 58% women, making it the nation’s most diverse cohort of future HBCU leaders. The program receives support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Microsoft, The Rich Foundation, Inc., Toyota, and the United Methodist Church, to name a few.

Before the Civil Rights movement, HBCUs were the beacon of hope for Black Americans seeking a college education. These institutions played a pivotal role in empowering Black individuals to pursue professional careers, earn graduate degrees, and advance their education. ELI continues to honor this legacy, preserving and strengthening HBCUs as hubs of education, opportunity, and uplift in the communities they serve. In the backdrop of ELI’s mission, the recent Supreme Court ruling that has ended affirmative action practices in higher education has raised concerns about its potential impact on Black students’ access to quality education. As a result, the need to strengthen HBCU leadership is now more critical than ever.

About The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI at CAU)

ELI equips high-potential leaders with tools and strategies that support the education and business goals of more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Through ELI, the ability of HBCUs to survive and thrive is improved. In addition to granting thousands of degrees each year, HBCUs also boast illustrious alumni like Martin Luther King, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, and Vice President Kamala Harris, among others. For program updates and to apply for the inaugural cohort, visit here. Join the conversation on social media @hbcueli; #hbcueli.

About Clark Atlanta University

Established in 1988 by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869). Clark Atlanta University continues a 150-year legacy rooted in African-American tradition and focused on the future. Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement. CAU cultivates lifted lives that transform the world. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson; American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter Lift Every Voice and Sing “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit

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